Hybrid and PHEV…what’s the difference?

Petrol, diesel, hybrid, PHEV or electric?

Part 2 of our series looking at current technology for vehicle energy systems.

Hybrid and PHEV – what’s the difference?  We’re glad you asked!  Hybrid vehicles are currently offered by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Lexus and do not require you to do anything but drive them like an ordinary car.  They have small electric motors mated with small petrol motors, and the two work together constantly.  As you drive, you charge up the batteries which power the electric motor, and everything just happens without you really needing to think about it.  The result is a more efficient driving experience (ie a Hybrid Camry is more fuel efficient than a regular petrol powered Camry) however it’s not as effective overall as a PHEV.

A PHEV (or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) is more advanced, and has a more powerful electric motor and larger battery capacity.  To get the most benefit out of the hybrid system, it is best to plug the car into a power source when not in use so that the batteries are always fully charged and ready to go.  The main benefit of a PHEV is that you can drive the car using solely the electricity in the batteries for short distances.  Most PHEVs on the market currently will allow for approximately 50km of real world driving range in pure electric mode.  For most people, this means the work commute (or the majority of it) can be completed without using a drop of fuel.  Subsequently the environment and your wallet both benefit, particularly if you’re powering the car from a renewable energy source, like your own solar panels at home.  A PHEV gives you some of the benefits of a fully electric vehicle, without any of the range anxiety, because if you do run out of juice in the batteries, you’ve got the backup of the petrol motor giving you infinite driving range as long as you’re able to keep refuelling.  Driving and braking will charge up the batteries as you go along too.  A PHEV is a great economical and environmentally friendly option for a lot of people, because in theory you could do the work commute daily, not using any fuel in the process, and then if you do plan on doing a more significant drive on the weekend, or a road trip, your car is still perfectly capable thanks to the back up of the petrol motor which switches on and off almost imperceptibly as required.

With the electric car charging infrastructure in Australia at the moment, it could be argued that a PHEV makes more sense for more people than a fully electric car.  It does of course all depend on how and where you drive your car.  As charging infrastructure increases, fully electric cars will certainly become a more practical option for more people, and it’s certainly the way the automotive world is heading for now.

With technology improving at a rapid rate, it means the charge capacity of batteries is increasing, and the size and subsequent weight of batteries is decreasing.  This means improved driving range, which is probably the biggest hurdle holding back more Australians from embracing this technology.   The speed at which power can be fed into the batteries is also increasing, meaning shorter charging times.  Overall, in just a few years, electric cars will have a similar range to their petrol-powered equivalents, and recharging will take no longer than refuelling a conventional car.

Keen move with the technology and phase EV into your life? We’ve put together some specials for you, or you can view more specials on our dedicated specials page. Read our Part 1 on fueling options here.

Long weekend Car-cation


If Stay-cation was ‘so 2019’ then Car-cation is ‘so 2020’. Where stay-cations have us looking to our own city (or backyard) to holiday a car-cation has us leaning on our car as the main focus of the holiday and all the ways you can incorporate the safety of your own personal space and room of your vehicle. Just like the holidays of the 80’s you’ll be peering over the road map looking at how far you can go in a day or within your state (‘Cos COVID).

The fundamentals of any car-cation?  Whether you are planning this weekend or in the future, make a list and start with checking the basics on your vehicle. Ensure you have your essentials kit in the car; there is a great list here and we recommend you don’t forget about a few handy items to include incase you come across any injured wildlife.

Once those not so fun practicalities are sorted it’s time to plan your car-cation. So what will your car-cation be? Our team have put their thinking caps on and come up with some of the best ideas around Brisbane.


  1. Take a Drive up Mount Nebo or Mount Glorious

Hidden within the Moreton Bay region you will find the drive to this region glorious enough to pull the eyes of any bored teen away* from their screen to look out the car window (*not tested). The region boasts some of North Brisbane’s most captivating bush walk trails as well as picnic areas. We assure you that if you wish to venture out of the car for even just a moment you’ll still be able to socially distance whilst reaping the many benefits of nature whilst you are there.

Our Leasing Consultant Nic recommends hanging around to enjoy the sunset from West Ridge. We are confident by looking at his photo that enjoying a picnic dinner and enjoying this view would have you feeling like your day car-cation was incredibly relaxing.



2. Glasshouse Mountains

We know that the Glasshouse Mountains are nothing new for any Brisbane resident, but car-cations have you turning inward to enjoy the same places you may have visited before and appreciating them in a completely different way. The Glasshouse Mountains really do capture something for everyone, from the avid hiker, to the boutique shopper to the cultural enthusiast eager to learn more about our Traditional land owners. We recommend packing a picnic as well as your hiking shoes and letting the essence of the area choose the road for you.


3. Drive in Movies 

It’s the screen, its the memories, its the whole vibe of the thing. If you’ve not done the drive in movie thing before 2020 then we really think now is the time you embrace it. Drive in movies offer you the opportunity to not only see a movie but to capture an entire experience with family and/or friends. We are confident that COVID-19 will see the return of drive-in cinemas in a way that we’ve not seen them since Danny and Sandy.


4. Redcliffe

Are you familar with Redcliffe’s musical claim to fame? The Bee Gees are originally from Redcliffe and the area boasts many tributes to the band including Bee Gees Way which is sure to be a hit for all ages. Lagoons in Brisbane is usually synonymous with South Bank, but Redcliffe also boasts a man made lagoon which will allow you to stretch the legs and enjoy the sun during your weekend car-cation.


5. Bribie Island

Linked to the mainland via a bridge (only for 4WD and 6WD vehicles) as well as currently under COVID-19 access restrictions this beauty is well worth it if you can make a visit happen. Bribie Island offers immense opportunity for adventurous or engaging activities for all ages and will allow you to use your vehicle as your primary form of access to and from the island.


6. North Stradbroke Island

Surfing, whale watching, kayaking, shopping, history and culture; Straddie has it all. You can access North Stradbroke Island with your car using the car ferry and it is recommended that if you are planning to stay for a couple of days then having your vehicle with you will provide you the abilty to get around the island with ease.

Our tip, if you are making the most of a day trip then head out on the earliest vehicle ferry and feed the family on the ferry on your way over.


7. Boot Picnic

The boot picnic, in our humble opinion, should be something everyone makes a regular habit out of. If the idea of a picnic stresses you out then a boot picnic ticks all the boxes, it allows all the benefits of picnicing in a beautiful location but without the stress of lugging all of the supplies to your chosen location. Put those back seats down, lay out the picnic rug and enjoy your boot picnic with a view!


Don’t forget to Stop, Revive, Survive.